We recently had the opportunity to work with a client who needed a modernization of their elevator controller. Working on a tight budget, the customer wanted to retain as much of the Original Manufacturer Equipment (OEM) as possible. However, in replacing the controller we recommended a non-proprietary option.
If you own or manage a building that is 40 or more years old, you may already realize that many repair and maintenance issues are looming ahead. Everything from HVAC and electrical systems to plumbing and roofing need to be considered for replacement or repair. These repairs seem to hit all at once. It pays to have a plan in place well ahead of system failure. Your budget should include the funds for modernization, but you should also invest in preventive maintenance. As a general rule, the benefits of properly maintaining existing equipment greatly outweigh the costs and will result in long-term savings. Furthermore, routine maintenance keeps the components and the entire building running smoothly with fewer surprises.
The Problem with Proprietary
In terms of elevator ownership, proprietary equipment is equipment for which service tools, tech support, and parts must be acquired from the original manufacturer or installer. So, the company that manufactured the elevator retains control over the costs associated with repairs and replacement parts. Unfortunately, this leverage is commonly used as a stranglehold to keep you under contract. It becomes extremely costly to shop around for another service provider.
Our client had faced this struggle for long enough. They wanted to find a non-proprietary controller. Through hard experience, they had found they wanted to be able to work with an independent service provider. They wanted reliable equipment. They wanted to be able to expect reasonable service and repair costs in the future.
Modernization – On the Inside
By installing a Smartrise controller, we were able to retain the original 24-volt DC fixtures, and even the traveling cable and hoistway wiring. We replaced the landing system and the inspection station but kept the power unit, motor starters, door operator, and cylinder. The aesthetics of the original elevator design were kept, but the functionality was greatly improved. This customer can now have confidence that the elevator will run smoothly for a long time to come.
If you are considering an elevator modernization, see Building Management and Elevator Renovation.